GKD Mini Review and Starter Guide

Last updated: 03JUL2021

The GKD Mini is an impressive little device, with some unfortunate caveats. Let’s dive into my review of the device, and some tips to get the most out of your experience.

BUY ONE HERE

Flash stock (or custom) firmware onto a new SD card

The GKD Mini ships with the Chinese operating system loaded, and let’s face it, it’s not really of much use to non-Chinese speakers. Luckily, community members have diligently translated the menus into English, and there is also a custom firmware called IUX which has also been translated into English. So let’s flash one of these English-language firmwares to a new SD card so we can start to enjoy this device.

Note that as of this writing, many of the emulators themselves have not been translated into English, so when you go into the emulator menus you may get confused. That’s the fun of emulation! I recommend you feel your way around the menus to achieve your desired result; also, you can check out the bottom of this page for links to some English-language emulators.

To get the latest GKD Mini firmware, check out this page. Currently the stock (v3.1) English firmware is available, as well as the IUX firmware, which is what I install in the video above. To install the firmware, download it to your computer, unzip the file, and then flash the .img file to an SD card using software like Win32 Disk Imager (PC) or Balena Etcher (PC/Mac). I recommend using a 16GB microSD card.

Once you flash the SD card, you will get a bunch of disk partitions appearing on your computer. Use DiskGenius (PC) to remove the drive letter from all of the partitions except the one labelled “ROMS”. Additionally, you can expand the “ROMS” partition to take up the remaining space on the SD card. See the video above for a demonstration.

Prepare your SD2 card

The device has two SD slots, and the second one is for your games/ROMs themselves. To set up this microSD card, head to this page and download guiformat. Use that program to reformat your SD card to the FAT32 file system. For this card, I recommend a 128GB card, but you could use a 256GB card if you plan on storing a lot of PS1 and Sega CD games.

16GB cards: 
SanDisk Ultra  
SanDisk Industrial (more reliable but pricey)

128GB cards:
SanDisk Extreme
Samsung EVO Select
Samsung Pro Endurance (more reliable but pricey)
SanDisk Ultra

256GB cards:
Samsung EVO Select
SanDisk Ultra

Add BIOS files to your emulators

BIOS (system) files are necessary to properly run GBA, Sega CD, PS1, Neo Geo, Famicom Disk System, and TurboGrafx CD (PC Engine CD) games. The easiest way to add BIOS files to your emulators is to add them to the “ROMS” partition on your 16GB microSD card, and then move them to the appropriate folder using the “Commander” app on the device.

Here is a list of the necessary BIOS files, and where they need to be placed. Note that BIOS files are copyrighted, so you are on your own to find them on the interwebs.

Game Boy Advance
BIOS file: gba_bios.bin
BIOS path: usr/local/home/.gpsp and usr/local/home/.mgba_sx

Game Boy (optional, for boot logo)
BIOS file: gb_bios.bin
BIOS path: usr/local/home/.gambatte/bios

Game Boy Color (optional, for boot logo)
BIOS file: gbc_bios.bin
BIOS path: usr/local/home/.gambatte/bios

Sega CD
BIOS file: bios_CD_E.bin, bios_CD_J.bin, bios_CD_U.bin 
BIOS path: usr/local/home/.genplus-sx/bios/

PlayStation 1
BIOS file: scph1001.bin
BIOS path: usr/local/home/.pcsx4all/bios/

Neo Geo
BIOS file: neogeo.zip
BIOS path: same folder as your Neo Geo ROMs

Famicom Disk System
BIOS file: disksys.rom
BIOS path: usr/local/home/.fceux/

TurboGrafx CD
BIOS file:  syscard1.pce, syscard2.pce, syscard3.pce
BIOS path: usr/local/home/.temper/syscards/

Additional emulators

If you don’t want to use the Chinese-menu emulators, here is a running list of emulators and apps available that work for this device and are in English:

GamBatte DMS (GB/GBC)
SimpleMenu (frontend)
GameBlaBla’s repository (various emulators)

Additionally, follow this link to download the “Supplemental Software Pack” which includes the stock apps that shipped with the original GKD350H emulators, apps, and standalone games. These can be installed onto your device by adding them to the media/data/apps folder of your SD1 card (via the “Commander” method highlighted in the section above), or in a separate folder named “APPS” on your SD2 card. Note that these emulators are old as heck, but performance should still be pretty good, and the menus will be in English.

Performance tweaks

The GKD Mini has some pretty impressive performance right out of the box, but you can make some tweaks to improve performance even further.

Hover over an emulator, then press SELECT and choose “Edit (name of emulator)”. Under the “CPU Clock” section, you can adjust the the setting from 1 to 7, which will overclock the device for that particular emulator.

Moreover, if you set a game as a favorite, you can do the same overclock, but for that specific game. Just like before, hover over the game in your favorites tab, then press SELECT and edit the game so it will have its own distinct overclock setting.


Changelog

03JUL2021
– published review and guide
– added additional emulators
– added performance tweaks

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